Fresh Web Design Resources
Spring is all about renewal and regrowth, so it’s the perfect time to motivate yourself and get excited about web design all over again. We’ve been collecting some some new tools and web design resources (and yes, freebies) to help you take advantage of those extra daylight hours and kick-start the spring equinox into a season of productivity and inspiration.
Prototyping & Mockup Resources:
Wireframing and prototyping is an essential step of the web design process – and with the right tools it can be one of the most exhilarating phases of a project, where possibilities are blooming (and budgets are still robust). Here’s some places to start if you’re looking to increase the effectiveness of your wires and protos.
InVision is a great tool for visual collaboration, you can comment and provide feedback in specific areas of your design and track iterations. With InVision Sync you can even separate screens and assets from within your source files and they’ll automatically update in the app. You can link between screens using hotspots and it has some basic interactive features. It’s a nice tool to have for quick communication on remote teams; at UpTrending we use it both for design presentations and internal reviews.
UXPin elevates the wireframing process in a way that feels so much more appropriate for today’s modern, highly interactive websites. With responsive views and the ability to add your own breakpoints, it’s great for a mobile-first approach and RWD planning. It comes with several libraries of UI elements, and you can create your own reusable components with Smart Elements. There’s effects for a more interactive presentation, hooking into events like hover and scroll. This is another tool we’ve embraced at UpTrending as a part of our design process.
For a more interactive experience in prototyping, proto.io has a generous set of features for animations, gestures and media, and allows for a realistic user experience that makes it great for testing concepts in the wild. It comes with a suite of UI libraries for various devices, and even lets you import your designs and assets for high fidelity visual mockups.
This is not another prototyping tool but a rather nice writeup on mockup fidelity, with use cases and workflow suggestions. I also found the different schools of thought on this interesting (transitional vs representational). Maybe a good read before deciding what type of prototyping is appropriate for a particular project.
eBooks for Creatives
With all the pressure to produce, as a designer it can be easy to forget to feed your brain and replenish your knowledge and expertise. Here’s some books to nourish your skills and bring you back to your creative center.
I’ve seen a few mentions of this book in the design community, released from the team at the aforementioned UXPin – I’m excited to check this one out.
This book is extremely relevant to our company since we partner with a lot of startup companies, also from the guys at UXPin.
With everything from office Feng shui, energizing recipes, stress management, and dream interpretation, this is a fun and quirky little guide to manifest creative strength through your environment and lifestyle.
This is a really nice (and beautifully designed) re-release of the original PPP ebook, which covers everything from overall design principles to Photoshop tricks and techniques.
Freebies for Designers
Cool Sh*t You’ll Want for Your Office
Infuse your office with some beauty and innovation this spring. Whether it’s a fun new gadget or an inspiring art piece, here’s some of our top picks:
Keep your gadgets charged and your OCD in check with this cool little cable organizer for your workstation.
This sleek stand for your Apple Watch has a minimalistic design that would look great on any desk, and of course it’s also a convenient charging station.
For those that are fans of Hayao Miyazaki’s breathtaking and beautiful animated films (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and more …) you’ll probably fall for these posters as hard as I did. With such a great price for the whole set – might as well start measuring the wall space in your office.
These wall hooks are sturdy enough to hang heavy items without looking too clunky. Suitable for both a home office or swanky studio, you can buy them in white or black.
If you’re like me and struggle to keep plants alive inside your home, then you’ll appreciate the concept behind this Bluetooth enabled, self watering planter. Mashable did a cool review of this product and the accompanying app.
You may be looking for a less-techy way to display some spring flora, then check out these gorgeous vases and planters from L & M Studio. More works of art than just plain flower holders, these ceramic pieces are both unique and functional. (I’m also in love with the Wood Grain Faceted Coffee Mugs).